Context-Free and Context-Dependent Elements of “the Political” Islam: An Analysis of Said Halim Pasha, Mawdudi, Shariati, and Ozel

By Edip Asaf Bekaroglu
Submitted to Session P4820 ("The Political" in Political Islam: Conflict, consensus, or something else?, 2017 Annual Meeting
Pol Science
Islamic Thought;
LCD Projector without Audio;
Islamism has always had an obsession with the state. Depending on the context, some Islamists aspired to rescue the state from being destroyed by foreign powers, some others aimed at establishing an entirely new state, yet many of them aspired to seize the state that was established or previously grabbed by the secular/modernist elite. Where does this obsession with the state stem from? I argue that it has a lot to do with the meaning ascribed to “the political” by Islamism. Therefore, this proposed paper analyzes four prominent Islamist intellectuals, namely Said Halim Pasha (1865-1921) from Ottoman Empire, Abu’l ‘Ala Mawdudi (1903-1979) from India/Pakistan, Ali Shariati (1933-1977) from Iran, and Ismet Ozel (1944- ) from Turkey in terms of their perceptions of the political. These four intellectuals are chosen for their representative capability of different time periods from different regions and experiences in order to see whether the settings matter to shape Islamist ideas on the political or such ideas are context-free. The research question of this paper is threefold. First, what kind of particular characteristics have these intellectuals attributed to a Muslim’s political being? Second, what is the significance of state for that political project? And third, what do these intellectuals see when they look at the society? Although the literature is rich on the intellectual and political history of Islamism, various Islamist understandings of the political, and the commonalities and differences between these understandings have not yet adequately questioned. Answering above questions, this paper intends to fill that gap in the literature.